REVIEW : JUSTIN LEVINSON – COLLAMER CIRCLE  (2023)

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Vermont singer-songwriter Justin Levinson releases his fifth full-length album `Collamer Circle` this month on which he joined forces with fellow Vermont-based songsmith Ben Patton.  

The album opens with `Madeline For The Win` and it`s a delightfully upbeat slice of harmonic pop which becomes a real foot tapper and has some charming brass tones midway and towards the latter part of the number. An initial jazzy vibe morphs into a much more Beach Boys shaded offering on `California Sun` which has some superb vocal harmonies on this really summery upbeat composition.

I read that `Lead Me To You` was written about accepting that you are ready to accept love and it does have that kind of introspective awakening shared over a dreamy musical texture. It might have been me, but Paul Simon came to mind on `Send Some Love My Way` which appears to be about the end of a relationship.

`Baby You’ve Arrived` brought to mind English seventies art rockers 10CC and the complex lyricism and rhythms they were so adept at composing.  We have a kind of cry for help from somebody struggling with life on `I Need Somebody Now` where the vocals mirror the anguish faced by the song`s subject.

`Mirabelle` is an amusing and playful jazz-tinged piece with a clarinet that leads us through. The singer has said that the dreamy `Then And There` is a number written about the importance of self-awareness.

`Tin Foil Hat Parade` is more of a power pop outing which seems to touch on somebody who seems to have fixed opinions and accepting that you`re unable or unlikely to change them. There`s a gentle thoughtful reflective composition with `No One Can Be Your Everything`.

We have a further song about a complex relationship with `Burn Your Whole World To The Ground` before another introspective self-examining piano led musing on `I Wasn’t Capable`.      

`She Spreads Sunshine` is a lighter upbeat track that relates to realising that you are finally ready to accept somebody into your life. The album closes out on `Tuning Out And Plugging In` which again seems to be a thoughtful acceptance of how you are wired and accepting that recognition.

`Collamer Circle` is a delightfully glossy slice of power pop which incorporated some delightful brass tones and shared some thoughtful and absorbing lyrics.

A release that may finally lead to some recognition this side of the pond.    

Rating 8 / 10

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